Global Investigations Review - The law and practice of international investigations

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Friday, 31 July 2020

Former Afren execs ordered to forfeit millions following conviction

The UK Serious Fraud Office has confiscated £5.45 million from the convicted former CEO and COO of defunct UK oil company Afren. 

The UK Serious Fraud Office announced on 31 July that a judge at the Southwark Crown Court ordered Osman Shahenshah and Shahid Ullah to hand over £2.9 million and £2.5 million respectively in ill-gotten gains earned from a fraud and money laundering scheme. 

The court convicted Shahenshah and Ullah of fraud and money laundering in October 2018, following a six-week trial. They later received sentences of six and five years in prison, respectively.

Mexico approves informal pretrial detention for corruption

Mexico’s Senate has voted through a reform that allows individuals suspected of corruption, illicit enrichment and abuse of power to be held for up to two years in pretrial detention.

Some senators opposed to the measure reportedly claimed that it violated the presumption of innocence while others criticised the fact that it would not apply to Emilio Lozoya, the former head of Mexico’s state-owned oil company Pemex.

Lozoya has been charged with taking bribes from Brazilian construction company Odebrecht. He denies wrongdoing.

The reform, passed during the early hours of 30 July, has been sent to the Chamber of Deputies.

Wirecard objects to BaFin order over 2019 financial report

Financial services company Wirecard has objected to a 22 July order by Germany’s Federal Financial Supervisory Authority (BaFin) to comply with financial reporting requirements.

BaFin has said it will impose a €330,000 fine on the defunct company if it does not comply with requirements to correctly report its financial statements for the 2019 financial year.

Wirecard lodged an objection to the order on 29 July, according to BaFin, which is reportedly investigating potential insider trading at the company.

Wirecard is at the centre of an accounting scandal. It announced in June that €1.9 billion in its accounts probably didn’t exist and filed for bankruptcy shortly after.

Estonian government faces questions over hiring of ex-FBI director

Toomas Kivimägi, the deputy chairman of Estonia’s parliamentary legal affairs committee, has questioned the legality of the government’s decision to hire Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan to advise on US money laundering investigations concerning the country, according to reports.

Kivimägi said that the agreement is questionable “in substance and legal nature” and undermines Estonia’s credibility and reputation. He also expressed concern that the details of the contract had not been made public.

The appointment of Freeh Sporkin & Sullivan raised eyebrows following allegations its senior partner, Louis Freeh, a former FBI director, represented a Russian citizen who laundered illicit funds through the defunct Tallinn branch of Danske Bank, which is at the centre of a €200 billion money laundering scandal.

Freeh denies representing the individual.

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